The first bonded Old Fitzgerald release for 2021 is here, and it’s the youngest of the whiskeys released in the series to date (which spans up to nine releases, depending on how you count them). This bourbon uses Old Fitz’s traditional wheated mashbill and was distilled in the spring of 2013, then bottled in spring of 2021.
The whiskey is instant proof that age isn’t everything when it comes to quality. While the nose initially keeps things close to the vest, with minimal fruit showing and an earthiness that evokes cloves and pepper, characteristics more closely related to rye-heavy bourbons, not ones made with a wheat recipe. The spice lets up in time, however, letting some barrel char and peach fruit notes emerge.
On the palate, the whiskey is pretty, sweet, and again delightfully spicy — it’s a pity this is a spring release, because it kind of feels built for the holidays. Light notes of peanut and cedar box open the door to a gently green herbaceous character, with rosemary and thyme in evidence as it develops, but the inherent sweetness offers the spirit an astounding level of balance. In time, the finish pushes a sizable note of chocolate and caramel and a smattering of spice box elements, again upping the complexity and showcasing the bourbon’s gorgeous physique.
This may not be the absolute best of the Bottled-in-Bond series, but it’s certainly close.
A / $85 [BUY IT NOW FROM FROOTBAT]